It is a whirlwind in here


November 2020

Dance, Dance, Wherever You May Be, And I’ll Lead You All


In my novel, There Was A Time, Oh Pilgrim, When The Stones Were Not So Smooth, Alison Alexandra, and her friend Amanda, go on a cruise – a freighter cruise. And they see many things. This happens before they even leave their home port.

**** **** **** **** ****

On the far side of the ship is the body of the part. Amanda and Alison Alexandra again rest their elbows on a mahogany railing and watch the activity of a large swath of the harbour. In the centre channel a tug boat hauling a scow piled with crushed automobiles is making its way to the inner reaches of the port, toward the railway terminal.

The tug is a dented and patch-painted vessel with the rumbles of a tired engine. The scow looks as if it has been in service for decades It is painted in haphazard colours of green that barely keep the rust in check.

“That looks like the end of the line carried by the end of the line destined for the end of the line,” says Amanda. “Yet they come in the other end of the port all shiny and new.”

“Maybe you just described life,” says Alison Alexandra.

“Oh – ewwww,” says Amanda.

“I agree,” says Alison Alexandra.

“Then let’s wave at Charon,” days Amanda. “Let us be hearty.”

They both lean over the mahogany rail and raise their hands high. Amanda leads them in vigour as she seems to reach for the sky with her enthusiastic wave. Alison Alexandra is tempted to put both of her hands in the air, but she refrains. She does not want to appear as if she is attempting to outdo her friend. As it is, matching Amanda is spectacle enough. They get the attention of the two crew in the wheelhouse of the tugboat. One leans from the door and waves back, while the other man behind the wheel gives a long blow on his horn.

What is unexpected, and apparently not visible to either crew in the wheelhouse, is the appearance of a figure stepping between the piles of crushed autos on the scow. Not only is it difficult to tell if it is a male or female because it is dressed in a long outer coat, but it is also hard to say if it is an adult or a child, as it is quite short. However, there is no doubt about the enthusiasm of the waving hand.

“Would that be a worker or a stowaway?” asks Amanda as she keeps waving.

“I wouldn’t think they would need any crew on the scow,” says Alison Alexandra. “What is there to do? And – anyway – look how they’re dressed.”

“A stowaway on a scow?”

“Looks like it.” Alison Alexandra wishes her military grade binoculars were not still packed away in her cabin. “Maybe they’re using the scow as a ferry from one part of the harbour to the other.”

“They’re not asking for help?”

“No.” Alison Alexandra has stopped waving. “They’re dancing.”

“Should we tell Ellerton?”

“Do you think we should?”

“No,” says Amanda. “Let them dance.”

The figure on the scow – man, woman or child – does a pirouette as the tugboat pulls away across the calm water of the harbour. The two crew members in the wheelhouse have returned to their duties.

“We can dance,” says Alison Alexandra.

“Together?” asks Amanda.

“Oh, yes – I think so.”

“Who leads?”

“Paper/scissors/rock.” Says Alison Alexandra.

Amanda flashes out two fingers as Alison Alexandra flashes out five.

“C’mon – hurry.”

“What will we do?” asks Alison Alexandra.

“Argentina Tango.”

Amanda takes Alison Alexandra’s right hand and extends it, while she places her right hand in the centre of Alison Alexandra’s back. Alison Alexandra rests her left hand on Alison Alexandra’s right shoulder.

“Do you think Ellerton has a guitar?” asks Alison Alexandra.

“Or a Supper Club Combo?” Amanda adjusts the distance between them.

“Oh, I would love a saxophone,” says Alison Alexandra.

As they take their first steps, the man/woman/child in its long coat stops their own dance. They approach the edge of the scow, but halt just behind the tier of squashed automobiles to keep out of the sight of the two crew in the wheelhouse. The tug is making its slow but steady workhorse course across the harbour, putting more and more distance between it and the ships tied to the dock.

Amanda prompts Alison Alexandra back beside the mahogany railing, but is unable to dance the growing gap between them and the scow. They come to a stop and lean over the railing when they realize the man/woman/child is cupping their hands around their mouth.

“Ole!” they hear, across the expanse of water. “Ole!”


Four Years Ago, Trump And Kafka Walked Into A Bar … Now We Know What Happened

{I wrote this after Donald Trump was elected President of The United States of America. This morning, I read the following from a post on Forex Factory: ” … it all has bypassed Rod Serling and now is in realm of Franz Kafka surrealism.”  Really – who can argue?} 

~ Frank. Welcome to your world.

~ DT, I’ve been living it all my life.

~ I’ve taken some pages out of your books, Frank.

~ I did try to get them burned.

~ You didn’t try too hard.

~ Well – no.

~ You know – neither did I.

~ I know. They all ran to your tune.

~ They did.

~ You were the Pied Piper of Havoc.

~  Worked like a charm, Frank.

~ Yes, DT – yes, it did.

~ They thought I was a bug.

~ Yes.

~ But I turned them into bugs.

~That you did, DT. And turned them against each other.

~ Yes.

~ And stood back, and watched.

~ Pretty well.

~ To the victor goes the spoils.

~ I was astounded – believe me.

~ And they keep making the same mistakes.

~ I know, Frank.  I’d laugh if it wasn’t so funny.

~ The one-eyed man is King in the land of the Blind.

~ Yes, Frank – yes. But you know what?

~  What?

~ I’ve got great vision in both eyes.

A Reminder Of When I Think God Laughed With Me


This incident happened over a year ago, when I was hand-writing (as I do) my current manuscript. Now, I am putting it (too slowly) into the computer, so the world can welcome it with open arms. It still gives me a chuckle, and perhaps God is also laughing up His sleeve.


So, it’s like this.
Alison Alexandra is going to meet her mentor for the first time in ten years. Her mentor, Bellissima Isabella, is the couturier who started, and managed, Alison Alexandra’s modelling career when she was a teen.   They are going to meet in front of the Gucci Museum in Florence.

Alison Alexandra assumes they are going to go in and look around but, oh no. Belissima Isabella has nothing but disdain for any other couturier.
I knew that when entering the Gucci Museum was going to be suggested, Belissima Isabella was going to decline, saying it was full of “Gorgeous Gucci Garbage”.

But, what was missing, was an oath of derision, which she might say a few more times as she struts across my stage in There Was A Time, Oh Pilgrim, When the Stones Were Not So Smooth.  

So, I am right at the moment of writing the oath, not a thing in mind, and she comes out with “Emanuel God Cunt”. A philosophic twist. I can live with it.

I finish my writing, come down to the computer, look at odds and ends, one of which is Linkedin. There is a request from a chap for me to add him to my Linkedin Network.  His first name is Emanuel.  

Might I suppose God is chuckling along with me?


Remembering The Battle Of Ortona For Remembrance Day


My father, Byron Caleb Estey, served in the Canadian Army for the entirety of the Second World War. He was 31 when he signed up, and was a decade or more older than most of the soldiers he served with. At the end of the war, he was offered an instant promotion from Corporal to Sergeant Major.

He declined. He had had enough.

He was with the 90th Anti-Tank Battery. He was the member of the crew who calculated the coordinates to aim the gun and destroy targets. He did this up through Sicily and Italy, except for those times when he grabbed his rifle to shoot at soldiers shooting at him.

I imagine I could write pages repeating the anecdotes he told – and maybe some day I will. He didn’t talk all that much about the war, and when he did, I’d guess 80% of his stories were humorous. The other 20% were not.

I regret not discussing his war experiences more with him, but he did not encourage it. I once asked how close he got to the German soldiers. He said, close enough to kill them.

He hated Germans and Japanese all of his life. I understand that this is not the way of most soldiers. They mellow. They come to understand that soldiers on the other side were doing a job, just as they were. My father was not one of these. Those 20% of his stories explained his attitude to me.

He fought in – arguably – the most horrific and bloodiest battle in the war, the Battle of Ortona over Christmas week of 1943. He marched over piles of bodies, and crawled over piles of bodies. Such were the details he would tell. He didn’t speak of his feelings, or use words like “horror”.

On Remembrance Day he would march in the community parade. He rarely lingered for a meal or beer or camaraderie at The Legion. He did not seem affected by the memorial event, and did not talk any more or less about his experiences just because it was 11 November.

Because his tales were more funny than not, I’ll close on what might have been his last funny story.

At his death, the Royal Canadian Legion wanted to conduct a small ceremony at the funeral parlour. They requested that his medals be pinned to his chest. But, the medals could not be found. This was odd, because they were important to him, and he always wore them for the Remembrance Day parade.

It is excessive to say that the whole house was searched – but not by much. Drawers, shelves, boxes, closets, clothes, were repeatedly searched. Nothing. The Last Post was played over a Veteran with no medals.

Months later, when the house was being sold and possessions were being removed, his clothes were searched before being given away. In the side pocket of a jacket he never wore were the medals, all spiff and shiny.

He would have smiled at that.

Dale Estey

[Image] Ortoni 1943×357/151221_ce0h0_rci-m-burning_sn635.jpg

Trump And The USA Walk Into A Bar


~ So, Don – we come to a parting of the ways.

~ You were mine – all mine.

~ Well – no – not really.

~ You loved me – admit it.

~ Only love can break a heart, Don – my heart ain’t broken.

~ I made you great again.

~ That wasn’t necessary, Don.


~What can I say, Don – old hat.

~ As God is my witness!

~ A witness for the prosecution, Don.

~ I’ve left my mark.

~ Yes. So do dogs.

~ I’ll win in the courts.

~ Don – you won’t even win in the Supreme Court.

~ They’re mine – all mine.

~ You’ve got nothing to bargain with, Don.

~ The American people are a disgrace.

~ They’re redeeming themselves, Don.

~ What will they do without me?

~ Have a nice day, Don


Scalloped Potatoes   (There is garlic involved.)

This scalloped potatoes recipe appears in the ‘Potatoes’ recipe of Martha Stewart’s Cooking School. Get this side dish recipe at PBS Food.

Source: Scalloped Potatoes

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